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THE DELHI EOAD.                                                    27
distance from the wayside. Here was the " delectable alley of trees, the most
incomparable ever beheld," which the Emperor Jahangir enjoys the credit of
having planted. That It was really a fiae a¥0nne is attested by the language
of the sober Dutch topographer, John de Laet, who, ia his India Vera, written
in 1631, that is, early in the reign of Sh&hjah&n, speak® of it in the following
terms :—-•" The whole of the country between Agra and Labor is well-watered
and by far the most fertile part of India. It abounds in all kinds of prodnce?
especially sugar. The highway is bordered on either side by trees which bear
a fruit not unlike the miilberrj",* and,'* as he adds in another place, " form a
beautiful ayenue." a At intervals of five or six coss," he continues, " there are
series built either by the king or by some of the nobles. In these travellers
can find bed and lodging i when a person has once taken possession ho cannot
be turned out by any one." The glory of the road, however, seems to have
been of short duration, for Bemier, writing only thirty years later, that is, in
1663, says :—"• Between Delhi and Agra, a distance of fifty or sixty leagues, the
whole road is cheerless and uninteresting-;" and even so late as 1825, Bishop
Heber, on his way down to Calcutta, was apparently much struck with what
he calls " ike- wiMness of the country," bat meutions no avenue, as he certainly
would have done had one then existed. Thus it is clear that the more recent
administrators of the district, since its incorporation into British territory, are
the only persons entitled to the traveller's blessing for the magnificent and
almost unbroken canopy of over-arching boughs, which now extends for more
thaniMrty miles from the city of Mathura to the border of the G-urg&nw district^
and forms a sufficient protection from even the mid-day glare of an Indian
summer's sun.
Though Hie country is now generally brought under cultivation, and can
scarcely b© described as even well wooded, there are still here and there many
patches of waste land covered with low trees and jungle, which might be consi-
dered to justify the Bishop's epithet of wild-looking. The herds of deer are so
numerous that tie traveller will seldom go many miles in any direction along a
bye*road without seeing a black-buck, followed by his harem? bound across the
path. The number has probably increased rather than diminished in late years,
* Id the original Latin teat the woid ii monu» which Mr. Letfabridg®, in Ms acholoxly
KBgiiih edition* translates fegr8 Sg;' but I think 4 mmlb^rry * * mote accurate taadejf isg, and
th&t to be the tree intended It If to this day largely naed £07 roadside planting at Labor, «nd
still more so in the Peihiwar Tftllej and in Kibul and on th®Qnw. Be La@& §ay® it wu omiy
like thft smlbeiry, and not that It positlrely wa* the Eraltisray, on account of the difference oi
the two v&vlttlm of the fmit» the la&iaii and the Buzofta®, which h reiy con@id«rabie. IB tbe
Talicj both aft to be teen.